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Hotel: An American History
When George Washington embarked on his presidential tours of 1789–91, the rudimentary inns and taverns of the day suddenly seemed dismally inadequate. But within a decade, Americans had built the first hotels—large and elegant structures that boasted private bedchambers and grand public ballrooms. This book recounts the enthralling history of the hotel in America—a saga in...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 15th 2007 by Yale University Press
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A fantastic history of hotels that looks at the surprising economic, legal, political, and social effects of this distinctly American institution, albeit one that later spread over the rest of the world. The author details how George Washington's national tours from 1789-1791 spurred the country's first hotel projects, how the early laws of public accommodations treated "innkeepers" as "public utilities," how hotels actually provided the model for the modern apartment house (the first American ...more
I found this book to be extremely interesting. I really enjoyed learning about the history of hotels and how it effected so many things in our current way of life such as apartment living and even the socialization of people. I really enjoy learning about how things came to be and if you are like me, you will really enjoy this read.
May 27, 2008 Jennie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in U.S. history
Recommended to Jennie by: Dan Heaton
An enjoyable read and a fascinating look at the role the hotel has played in the evolution of the United States. I found it most valuable for its perspective; it's as if someone said, "Here--look through these glasses for a minute." Well, more than a minute. . . . I look at hotels differently now.
Interesting book on the evolution of the hospitality industry in the US from dusty road-side inns in colonial days (primary function was serving alcohol; lodging was often secondary, mainly provide a place for drunken patrons to sleep it off) to the modern, full service hotels we have today, complete with gyms, meeting rooms for business functions and fancy ballrooms for social functions (weddings, etc.). The author did extensive research (think "doctoral dissertation") and provided many photos, ...more
Reads like a very well-done thesis. The author interweaves the development of hotels into American history from the birth of the country (George Washington's travails in finding decent places to stay while traveling are details) to its furthering of crime and racial segregation. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, but ultimately not a topic I could remain entranced by -- had to read this in installments.